Monday, January 14, 2008

Aaron Sverre Harkness

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Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. ~From a headstone in Ireland

Aaron Sverre Harkness
March 29, 1977 - November 29, 2007

December 4, 2007 - This day should have been one that gave me a sense of closure, but it didn't.

It just didn't feel like I was really there. It felt like a day that I needed to just get through in order to get back to normal life... in order for life to continue the way it was supposed to... with Aaron. How could this possibly be my life now... living it without Aaron.

How could we live without him? How do I help Aaron Jr understand why his Daddy isn't here anymore? We miss him.

How do I teach him the things that his Daddy would have taught him? How do I watch him in his accomplishments throughout his life without his Daddy by my side watching with me? There is a hole in our hearts that won't be filled until we are together again.

Our wedding rings... reminders that we are sealed for eternity.

Our little cowboy...

Sending our hearts to heaven...

Forever a Family

There are still so many regrets, so many wishes I have as I think about the last moments of Aaron's life. There are so many things left unsaid... and things left undone. As I sit and talk to him before I go to sleep each night... I tell him over and over the things I wish I could go back and say. I pray every night that he can hear me... that I can feel him near me... that he can somehow tell me that he loves me. In reality, all I have to do is think back on our time together and remember all of the times he told me he loves me... all of the ways he served me... all of the experiences we shared together. All of those should tell me that he loves me. So, why is it that I feel such a need to hear it from him just one more time? Maybe it was because he was taken so suddenly. With no preparation. So many moments stolen. The final moments that we spent together... they could have been so much better if we had only known what was to come.
But we didn't know what was to come... so why didn't I kiss him one more time? Why didn't I tell him one more time how much I love him? Why didn't I tell him everything that I feel in my heart? I can only pray now... that he knows. I can only pray that our loving Father in Heaven allows Aaron to see into my heart so that he knows the love I have for him.
I still haven't been able to write down my feelings from that day. I feel them. Those feelings are as real now as they were that day. I still feel the devastation and the fear I felt. It was hard to even breathe. I still feel the horror I felt as I lived my own personal nightmare... a nightmare that I would never wake up from. A nightmare that was more horrifying than anything I had ever imagined myself living through. My heart hurt as it does now. I feel now as I felt then... broken.
I pray for peace. I pray for comfort. I do feel it at times. I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, will heal me. I know that if I allow Him to... He will take my burden upon Himself. I am trying to let Him... pieces at a time. Part of me wants the burden... just until I am with Aaron again. But I know that our purpose here isn't only to suffer. Our purpose here is to learn and grow from our suffering and to submit ourselves to the Lord so that He can lead us home again. He is waiting for us to come to Him so that He can heal us and give us the strength that we need to overcome all of our weaknesses and all of our sufferings. Our purpose here is to show Him that we have faith. Faith in Him. Faith in His promises.
* This word kept going through my mind last night as I typed this... and now after reading a couple of people's comments, I decided I must add it in since it was on my mind. It is just that I haven't found this yet since Aaron passed away... our purpose here is to find joy. True and lasting JOY.

I love Aaron... with all of my heart. I truly know that we will be together again someday... if I do my part. This knowledge is what brings me the peace and the comfort I need to be able to press forward. And I will press forward... WE will press forward.

I love you Aaron... Always...

* * *


Karey said...

Beautiful pictures, Leslie. Beautiful and sad. Keep casting your burden upon the Lord, a piece at a time. Don't hold on to the suffering. Hold on to the peace. We all love you. Keep your focus on the Savior and the perfect plan. This life is only a small piece of the big picture and the big picture is what you must focus on. Give Aaron Jr. a big hug. Love you both!

Lynette said...

Oh, Leslie! I found you through Sheye's blog...and I can barely see to write this because of the tears. I, too, believe all that you do about eternal families. I have never experienced the pain and loss that you and Sheye have suffered. Thank you for being so courageous to share with the world the innermost feelings of your heart. I am so sorry for the loss of your husband, your best friend, your everything. How blessed we are to know the eternal plan of our Father in Heaven. How could we take one more step wtihout it? Know that you are in my thougths and prayers. Be strong for little Aaron. Hugs to you!

Seesalou said...

wow leslie. this posting hit me hard today. your thoughts & feelings from those dark days are moving. i was so glad to read that you are slowly allowing yourself to pray for peace & comfort. remember all of the counsel from your blessings and know of all of our love for you, especially your father in heaven. remember your own words...that this life isn't just to suffer through. you are supposed to have joy. remember.

Kristi said...

Those pictures are beautiful. That day was emotionally exhausting for us. I can only imagine your suffering. It is hard to move forward when you want to hang onto the past, but like you said, the Savior can heal you piece by piece. You will never be "whole". You will always have a lasting scar on your heart, but his power is great. You can heal. We love you.

Tawnie said...

This is beautiful Leslie. Thank you for your strength. It's amazing what can be said when it comes from the heart. Thank you for teaching the rest of us about life and living. I love you!!!

Melinda said...

Leslie, I love what you said about giving your burden to the Lord a piece at a time. Sometimes it seems too scary to give it all at once, but that doesn't mean we can't let it go... a bit at a time. Soon you'll realize that He is carrying more than you are, and it won't be quite so heavy.

I don't think we would EVER have enough I love yous, or enough kisses. I'm sure Aaron knows your love for him, and I'm sure he's sending love to you, the same as you are to him.

Love you! Mindy

Joann said...

Wow Leslie. Words seem so cheap after reading some of your posts. Aaron loves you and I believe he knows of your love for him as well. I read a quote by Robert Frost today that reminded me of what you must do. "The best way out is always through." -Robert Frost
You can make it through and you will be stronger for it.

Anonymous said...

“ I share with you again a simple little insight that may help you at certain junctures in your lives. It is that you must not mistake passing local cloud cover for general darkness. They are very different things, and for us to misinterpret local cloud cover, which will soon be blown away, as general darkness is a terrible thing. The restored gospel is so full metaphorically of light. We must not be mistaken about this." (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Insights from My Life,” Ensign, August 2000, page 7)

Brenda said...

Leslie, I just wanted you to know I have been, and continue to pray for you and Aaron Jr. God has a plan for you, and sometimes He uses incredible heartbreak for incredible good. You may not know now what the purpose of His plans are, but everything the LORD does he does for good and for His glory. Sending love your way!

Sheye said...

Dear Leslie
I know how hard it would have been to post those photos..To speak of that day. I have never seen the photos from Ava's day, I'm not sure I'll ever be ready to.
You asked me how I was able to be strong enough to post about Ava's accident and honestly, more than anything, I wanted the World to know that it was just an ordinary day, that we were normal loving parents and that it was just down to such a simple series of events that led to our tragedy. I had to share it with everyone because it made no sense to me, it still doesn't. I know you understand the shock, the going from "normal" to that nightmare where everything is not making sense yet it's happening.

Early on, I had no real awareness of what I should hold back, when I spoke of Ava..I just needed to speak from the heart - as you have done. After a few months, reality started to set in a bit more and I found myself sensoring my words a lot more..It was one of the hardest things I've ever written, that post this week about the accident. I found my heart racing and I really wondered if I was doing the "right" thing, sharing something so deeply personal for public consumption..

At the end of the day though, I'm just a normal person, a normal Mum who couldn't fathom for a second the idea of losing a child yet here I am. I try to remember I'm just reacting normally to a very abnormal situation so I shouldn't have to hide that. Of course I still sensor - but only because I know it would be too painful for others to read, too terrifying for people to have to know about the very worst moments..

You asked me about it "getting better" too. I can't say my experience will be yours ..You are you and your relationship with Aaron is unique but what I will say is that losing Ava was my very worst nightmare. My greatest fear. I could never explain totally what having her meant to me, how much I cherished and adored her. I waited so long for her. But I am able to say the pain "eases". The days get more bearable. You will smile. You will never ever forget your love for Aaron and you will never stop wishing that he was here but in time you will accept what has happened a lot more. You will find joy again Leslie, that cloud will not follow you every moment of the day and you will genuinely remember him with happiness instead of such searing sorrow. I truly promise you this.

It doesn't mean for a moment that your love for him fades, it means that you are trying as best you can to "carry on", for Aaron Jnr, for you, for Aaron. Don't try to be strong, just allow your tears to flow and speak of him whenever you need to..You will become more used to the roller coaster and it will then become a little more bearable. This is what has helped me.

Always in my thoughts.
Love Sheye xx

Spencer said...

What a strange day that was. Nothing seemed real. I am heartbroken seeing Aaron Jr. standing by his dad's casket. We sure love you and we miss Aaron. I again find myself hoping that no one will come into my office while I sit here crying. It is so painful. And it is terrible to think that the pain you feel is 1000 times worse. We love you Leslie. Aaron will always be part of our family.

Felicia said...

You don't know me, but I am a good friend of both Mindy Smith and Andrea Peterson, so I heard about you from two sources, and found your link on Mindy's blog.
I just wanted you to know that even though I don't know you, I am praying for you. I burst into tears when I saw the picture of you and Aaron Jr. next to the casket. Life seems so unfair sometimes, but I also have a testimony of the gospel and know you'll be together as a family again. May God bless you with the strength and peace you need in the coming months and years.

Marilee said...

I am so glad you are able to share your feeling with us. I wish I could take away your pain. I'm thinking of you everyday!

christa said...

What a diffifult day that was. A day no one ever expected to happen. It makes me so sad to see those pictures of little aaron next to the casket. We miss him dearly.

Amberly said...

I am a stranger who has been touched by your honest words and faith. I look forward to checking your blog and wish peace for you and your precious son. I can't begin to imagine the hurt your heart feels, but have a great deal of love and admiration for you just the same.

An Australian Belle said...

You will see Aaron looking at you through your son's eyes, and hear him in his laughter.

I am thinking of you.

[StefanieC] said... don't know me and I didn't know of you until today. A family member, Lacey Carter, had a post about you and I was compelled to visit your blog. As the tears have flowed from the depths of my heart reading your story, my heart has broken for you and I just have been moved by your words. My sister passed away unexpectedly 4 1/2 years ago leaving behind her husband and 11 month old son and with her death, the little spirit growing inside of her also returned to a home I'm not sure it ever left. So although I cannot imagine losing the love of my life, I know the feeling of losing one that I loved all of my life.
I don't know what words to say to comfort you, because I just don't know that there are enough words. But talk of him often and talk to him often like you do, I know that helped my brother-in-law immensely. Your little Aaron Jr. will know his father through you, and he will have the most awsome relationship with him because of you. That is a gift no one else can give to him.
I will keep you and Aaron Jr in my prayers. And I assure you that he is with you both more than any of us realize, I'm sure you feel that. I know that you will have enlightening experiences that come from his loss. At times it is a comfort to know that you do, literally, have someone walking along with you from the other side of the veil. I'm sure, if you haven't already, you will have moments where you will reach your hand out and literally feel him there with you. I believe that he will see Aaron grow everyday of his life and find joy in his life.
Sorry, I've probably gotten carried away, but I just want you to know that I have been touched by your story and I am thinking of you and your sweet little family.

April said...

It is so strange to look at those pictures and realize that my brothers, your husbands, body is in that cassket. Aweful... so hard when it feels real. It still seems like a bad dream most of the time, but there are those moments were it hits hard. Les, I hope you are finding peace. I hope you are feeling like it's okay to smile, to laugh. I know it's hard... and I guess it should be... because, he is such a great loss. Give little Aaron a kiss for me... and if you feel up to it, dance with him for me. Love you.

LizG said...

Hi Leslie,

Sorry I don't know you, I came across your blog on Sheye's site.

I just wanted to send you, my family's thoughts and love. You are in a horrible situation and you are all such good people, it breaks my heart. It sounds very wrong to say this but the photos of Aaron's day are beautiful and a fitting tribute to someone who was obviously so kind and adored.

I wish you and Aaron Jr all the very best from England.

Liz x

Ray & Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You don't know me, I found you blog via a friend. My prayers will be with you and your son, combined with the many family and friends you have. My heart goes out to you and your little boy. Families are Forever! What a wonderful promise from our Heavenly Father. May the Lord bless you and may your heart be filled with the love you have for your sweet heart always. Good luck and may the spirit of our Heavenly Father always be with you.

Jennifer, USA

Vicki said...

Leslie... wow, it's amazing how many people are praying for you... family, friends, people you don't know, etc. You are loved by many and your story is touching many lives. Keep allowing the Lord to help and heal you... and like you said, "pieces at a time." Love you!

Lacey said...

Leslie-Thanks so much for commenting on my blog. I just want you to know that you strengthen all of us out here that are watching this from afar. You look so familiar to me too! All my thoughts have been with you and Aaron Jr. the past couple of days. You can do this and through the Lord's love he will make you whole once again. Just know that all of us in the blogging world are thinking of you and are prayers are with you. Sometimes we just never know what the Lord's plan for us is in this life, but we must trust in him always. Good luck in all. Love you tons. Lacey

Mindy said...

I check your blog every day, and when it seems like awhile since a new post, I worry. I'm thinking of you! Love you!

Sheye said...

Thinking of you this morning Leslie.
Just one breath and one step at a time..
S x

Anonymous said...

where have you been? We are worried..We hope you are feeling peace and love through all of our comments.

xox J

Lynette said...

Thnking of you this morning, Leslie...Hugs to you and little Aaron.

Scott&Mal said...

Leslie, I check your blog frequently from Dave & April's and I always find myself sobbing before I even start. Scott, Rob, Dave, & April have told so many great stories of him and I know that he was such a great man! You are always in my thoughts and prayers! Keep holding onto the savior for his love and redeeming power. He loves you so much and knows every pain that you are feeling! We all love you and your family and we are thinking of you always. I hope that Aaron Jr. is doing well, and hold tight to him and the wonderful blessing that he is in your life!!

An Australian Belle said...

Hi Leslie, you may find this site helps you and inspires you - you may know of it already.

Leslie said...

i appreciate 'an australian belle' for telling me about that blog. thank you, it is very comforting for me to read the blogs of others who have experienced a loss.
thank you.

An Australian Belle said...

Hi Leslie, I have a close friend who lost her husband very suddenly nearly 2 years ago. Her daughter was 18 months old at the time. I have sent her the link to your blog because I feel that you and she may be able to support each other. She has read it (at 2am in the morning as she, too, has trouble sleeping), and I am hoping she contacts you through your blog. She reminded me that her daughter Natalie's birthday is the same as Aaron junior's. Her name is Penny. Thinking of you. Regards, Jane

Leslie said...

thank you jane...
to be honest, when i know of someone else who has gone through or is going through this same trial, it brings me comfort to know what they are feeling. i don't feel so alone in the world when i know that someone else is feeling what i am feeling.
how ironic that her daughter's birthday is the same as aaron jr's. the connections i have made all over the world have brought some comfort and peace during this very difficult time.
thank you ever so much and God bless.
-leslie *